Editorial: Steel City stronger than hate

November 18, 2018

When tragedy occurs, the immediate need is to find a way to go on. You have to find the strength inside to not collapse under the weight of grief and pain.

That’s hard. Giving over to the rising river water of sorrow and loss would be easy.

But we don’t. We can’t. There is work to be done, especially after a tragedy like the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill where 11 people died in an explosion of hatred and gunfire.

And so Pittsburgh will carry on.

We have watched other cities shoulder the burden of survival and supported them when it happened.

We watched New York rebuild its tallest tower.

We watched New Orleans rise again when the water rolled back.

We watched Boston continue to run fast and forward.

We watched Orlando keep dancing.

We watched Las Vegas let the music play on.

We watched, and we were sad, and we were glad it was not us. We showed our solidarity in ways that we could, but we didn’t quite understand the depth of the difference between sadness and sorrow or sorrow and grief.

But now we do. Now it is our turn to find the courage and strength to stand up, to learn from what has happened, to take a step forward, and another and another and another.

We will do it, because Pittsburgh has a heart of gold but a core of steel.

Pittsburghers know better than anyone that under the white-hot heat of fire, solid ore becomes liquid, but that is just the start of the process. When you work that liquid, shaping it and cooling it, what you are left with is something stronger than what you had to start.

We believe that Pittsburgh is stronger than hate.

We believe Pittsburgh is strong enough to rise out of grief and pain in a way that will be a model for other communities, a way that will light a path of candles that shows how to move out of the darkness toward something better.

We believe Pittsburgh will show that by attacking a worship service in the Steel City, hatred has met its match.

We believe -- no, we know -- hatred can’t break Pittsburgh because Pittsburgh is a city of champion underdogs.

Pittsburgh is a city that doesn’t just make steel. It’s made of steel, from the bridges to the buildings to the people.

And hatred isn’t stronger than steel.

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